Oasis of Seas 10/16/10
DH and I are both 55 and this was our 25th cruise. This cruise was chosen by my sister and brother-in-law to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. There were 14 of us, family and friends. We flew from Albany, NY on Southwest the day prior. Home was rainy and in the 40's, and Ft Lauderdale was a lovely 75 and sunny on arrival and later hit the mid 80's. Just what we hoped for. We rented a car, ate a quick lunch at Burger King, checked into Riverside Hotel, and made for the beach (Lauderdale By The Sea) as fast as we could. The hotel has a nice pool across the street, but we prefer the beach. It took 25-30 min to reach, with lots of traffic, and was $1 per hour parking, by meter. After a wonderful 2 hrs we returned to our hotel, showered, and looked around a bit for someplace to eat dinner. The hotel has several restaurants, all on the pricy side. Parking at the hotel was $18 a day in their garage. There is no street parking. DH then drove back to the airport to pick up our niece while I practiced my relaxing. We met everyone in one of the rooms for dinner and SURPRISE son # 2 (age 25) arrived with niece Kara from California and would be cruising with us! DH and other family kept this a complete surprise from me so it was a big shock to see him step out of the bathroom. After the reunion we all left to eat dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, on the same block as the hotel. We had a great time, tasting each other's drinks and trying unsuccessfully to finish the huge portions of food they serve. After a little chit chat in the hotel garden we made it an early night and hit the hay.
Oasis Day 1
Ft Lauderdale began sunny and coolish, but warmed up to the 80’s later. DH, sister, son, and I went to Dunkin Donuts to get breakfast, brought it back, and enjoyed outside in the hotel courtyard/garden. We then left the hotel about 10 am, returned the Thrifty rental car and used their shuttle to get to the port. The entire car check-out process only took 5-10 min. Hurrah-Oasis ! Embarkation was very fast and we were on by 11 am. Very organized with many organized lines and efficient staff. Dining began at 11:30 am and every venue was very crowded. After wasting a lot of time waiting for various family to show (need walkie-talkies for this ship) we ended up in the Solarium Bistro. Food was ok, nothing great. DH ran downstairs to Park Cafe and got himself a roast beef sandwich (thick slabs of meat on a roll), which he enjoyed. After lunch family took off in different directions. Rooms were open and available at 1 pm, so we got rid of our carry-ons and then we went on a tour of the ship. wow wow wow
Captain: Thore Thorolvsen
Cruise Director: Richard Spacey (very good)
At 3 pm we went to our cabin and DH napped. Muster drill was at 4:15 in the Aquatheater and very hot in the sun. We got to sit and did not have to wear lifejackets. When we got back to the cabin, we had our luggage and started unpacking. We sailed about 5:15 and stayed in our cat D8 7668 for it.
Our steward was Catur. He did a great job (we never saw him in the hall).
Dinner was early 6PM seating, as we prefer. We were on deck 3 of the Opus dining room. We knew our group of 14 would be divided between 2 tables, but DH requested to RCL Dining that they have the same waiter so that we would be able to switch around. Our tables were next to each other, but not with the same waiter. This did not make us happy. Dinner was not great tonight. The prime rib tasted odd to both of us and looked more like a ham steak. Desert Savorin-ugh. Coffee was different this cruise and wasn’t good at all, something that persisted throughout the cruise and agreed by all. The 9 pm show tonight was Oasis of Dreams, the water show. It was pretty good, but not really spectacular. We heard it was the first show of a new cast. Every other row in the Aquatheater has benches instead of seats, so get there early for the best selection. After the show we headed to bed. Sleep was wonderful with a very comfy bed and the balcony door open to hear the waves against the ship!
Day Two - Sea day
After an early morning hot tub soak, DH, DS, and sister went to Johnny Rockets for breakfast (no charge). We ate outside on the Boardwalk at small metal tables. They have a variety good plain food. This is a good place to get hot eggs. After breakfast we walked the ship a bit and then settled down on lounges on the pool deck. We chose a good spot because at noon there was a soaking rain and since our area was covered by the overhang, we stayed nice and dry while many others had to scramble. I ate in the Windjammer for lunch (not great) and DH got a pizza from Sorrentos. Then during the afternoon we walked and read and lounged away the day, which is just the way we like it! Today was a formal night and it was lovely to see all our family dressed up. The kids (early 20’s) all looked terrific. We began the evening with pre-dinner cocktails in the Viking Crown lounge, a family tradition. Dinner included shrimp cocktails and escargot for appetizers (yum) and duck and beef filet (also yum). Desert was a chocolate soufflé (again yum). After dinner (first seating) we went to the Captain’s reception in the Promenade and had our free champagne. Shows are by reservation and tonight we chose Hairspray. The show ran 10:30 to midnight and was excellent with very strong singers. After that it was time to let the ship rock us to sleep.
Day Three - Labadee
We arrived at RCCL’s private island Labadee about 7 am. After a 6:30 am hot tub soak we ate breakfast in the Windjammer. At 8:30 we headed off the ship using the new pier. Although we miss our lovely Hideaway Beach, the pier is a nice convenience.
Today was very hot and sunny, and so we found a spot under a tree and spent the day there lounging, swimming, and looking for shells. Sister got yelled at (as usual) for walking too far (“MRS, MRS, you can’t go there”). The picnic was the usual Labadee food of hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, ribs, salads, corn, fruit, and cookies.
We headed back to the ship about 3 pm after watching some ominous dark clouds moving closer. We sat out on deck for a bit then got ready for “Happy Hour” at the Viking Crown. We also watched folks below run from the thunderstorm that developed from those ominous clouds. However, we soon found ourselves among the runners as we had reservations at Chops tonight. To get to Chops requires walking through Central Park. We also found out that using the restroom also requires the same since Chops has no interior restroom. Dinner at Chops was WONDERFUL. Our waiter Joselito was excellent. DH had the shrimp cocktail and onion soup as appetizers and enjoyed both. I had the crab cake and this was so good it could have been a main entree. I also tried the lobster carpaccio, as did most everyone at our table and most, including me, did not care for it (although the presentation was lovely). Joselito had anticipated I would not like it and brought me another appetizer of fish. I can’t remember the name, but it was good. For the entree we both had the beef filet, which was terrific. Veggies were chosen by the waiter for all to share, after asking our preference. We ended up with twice mashed potatoes and mushrooms, and both were great. Desert was mud pie desert which was a desert you dream of when you plan a cruise-very, very good. It was like a rich dark chocolate mousse and caused much happy moaning around the table. After dinner we walked off a few of the calories with a trip to the ship shops. At 10:30 was the Love and Marriage show, hosted by Richard Spacey (“See my socks.” “Love You.”), the cruise director. The host can make or break this show, and he did a fine job. It was very funny. Just ask anyone on our cruise what a cattle crush is!
Day Four - Sea Day
After a quick breakfast in the Windjammer, we headed to the pool deck and found our spot outside under the overhang. Today was warm but very cloudy with a brief afternoon rain shower. We spent all day outside and ate roast beef sandwiches from the Park Cafe (we did take-out) and desert from the Windjammer for lunch. Before dinner we attended the sad Platinum/Diamond reception in the Opal Theater. It was harder to get drinks and make conversation in the theater, and the
hors d'oeuvres were easy to leave behind. Gone are the days when you could get shrimp and chocolate covered strawberries.
At dinner tonight (after discussion yesterday with the maitre d and head waiter), staff had put two tables together for our large group of 14. This was great because we could change seats each night and get to talk to different family and friends. We appreciated the work they did to arrange this. For dinner tonight I had the penne pasta off the alternative menu and DH had the surf and turf; both were good. The entertainment tonight was comedian Bobby Collins at 8:30, who was very funny. We enjoy good comedians. Later we went to karaoke and listened to our niece and her mother belt out a couple songs. This was great fun. After karoke it was time for Quest at 11:45, which we try to never miss. Richard Spacey was funny and included some new “quests.” This is really necessary since there are so many repeat cruisers. And then it was sand man time (balcony door open, of course).
Day Five - Costa Maya
Today we slept a bit later than usual, 8:45 or so, and then breakfasted in the Windjammer. There are lots of choices here and something for everyone. Since we weren’t arriving at Costa Maya until noon we went out on deck for a bit and then watched some of our crowd do the zipline. Then it was time to eat again, 2 hrs after breakfast, LOL There is lots of shopping and a pool with a swim up bar right off the pier, but we chose to go to a nearby town, Majahaul. You can get a “cab” (bus) just off the pier and to the left. It was $3 pp to town/beach and $2 back. The beach was not the best we have been to but it was still the Caribbean! It had shallow water with no waves and hard packed sand. We never went in the water. If you choose, you can get a massage on the beach as there are plenty of choices. There are also bars and huts with lots of wares to buy. They don’t ignore you here, but they are not overly aggressive either. There was lots of brightly painted pottery, Mexican blankets, jewelry, etc. I enjoyed this more than the beach and it is usually the other way around for me. DH AND DS snoozed on their blankets while sister and I beach combed and shopped. Sister also sampled the local beer ($3) at a open air bar with wooden swings. We headed back to the ship about 4 pm to get ready for our happy hour. For dinner tonight I had the crab cake appetizer (good, but not as good as Chops) and the asian chicken soup, also good. DH had the caeser salad, which is always good. Then we both had the rack of lamb, very tasty. For desert we had the chocolate fondue which was just ok. At 8:30 we watched the ice show “Frozen in Time” which included a sand artist.
We always enjoy the ice shows. Following that we took a stroll in Central Park, which is gorgeous day and night. After our walk, DH made a casino deposit and I read a bit before lights out. Another lovely evening at sea.
Day Six - Cozumel
When we docked today about 8 am, it was cloudy and a bit cooler than it had been. After another Windjammer breakfast we left the ship about 9:00. We took a cab to Mr Sancho’s where we enjoyed a nice day last year. The ride cost $15 for 1-4 persons and the van back was $32 for 6 persons. This is a great beach with a nice large thatch- roofed bar/restaurant with rope swings along one side. They are building a pool, planned to open in December. DH and DS got in their usual positions on towels (although you can get chairs and umbrellas if you choose). Sister and I walked and explored. In back of the beach is an overgrown garden with lots of birds and butterflies, and a turtle I named Hortense. Unfortunately at 12:30, 5 min after our niece and nephew arrived, the heavens opened and it poured. After waiting in the bar area for half an hour and no signs of clearing we returned to the ship. Friends found a nice thatched hut and didn’t seem to mind the rain. After a late Windjammer lunch, there was still no let up in the rain so we walked around the ship for awhile then took a nap before dinner. Tonight was the second formal night and everyone again looked terrific when we met at the Viking Crown for happy hour. For dinner tonight, I had the mushroom tart and asparagus soup for starters and DH had the cesear salad again, all were good. For the main course we chose the “Fisherman’s plate” which consisted of four dinky shrimp and a small lobster tail. The lobster was dried out and disappointing so not worthy of the seconds I usually get. Tonight was also the 10th anniversary of DH’s sister and her husband. They enjoyed the cake and singing from the staff (cake requested by DH). Tonight’s show was “Up in the Air” and included singing, dancing, acrobatics, and high wire acts. It was very good. Before the show Richard Spacey did a short montage of dance moves, very funny. Following dinner we all met in our friends’ junior suite for anniversary champagne toasts. The honorees said a few tender words to each other and exchanged gifts (a ring for her and a necklace for him). Then DH made a surprise touching speech about the couple. Lots of tears and not enough champagne. Later the party broke up about 11:30. After another walk through Central Park, DH headed for the casino and I headed to bed. And who did I hear laughing it up on a balcony the deck below (out of 5,000 + people) but DS, niece, and nephew! They did quiet down after I called and told them to stop having so much fun!
Day seven - Sea day
Our last day dawned warm, sunny, and breezy. After breakfast in the usual place we all met at the rock climbing wall where some of the more daring gave it a try. Let’s just say some were better than others but I didn’t go near the thing! Next was a short lay out on deck before it started raining again about noon. DH spent a lot of time today trying to do our Southwest check-in, but Southwest’s site was down until about 5 pm. It rained on and off all afternoon so in between deck lounging we walked around the ship. At 5 pm was our last and sad “happy hour” before dinner. Appetizers included shrimp cocktail and onion soup and entrees strip steak and mahi mahi tempura, all good. After dinner, we packed (yuck) and at 9:30 went to the Comedy Club where we saw two comedians. Neither one was hilarious, and actually a bit of a disappointment. And then on to the last night on that super comfy bed.....
Day 8 - Saturday - Tossed out
The Oasis is just as organized on the last day as they are the first and all went smoothly. We ate breakfast in the dining room about 6:30 and by the time we were done we could leave the ship. We were at the airport by 8 am. Walk-offs and self-disembarks were off by 6:20 am.
very fast and organized check-in and disembarks
The large wide Royal Promenade
shows top notch with very strong singers
the touch screen maps to get around were terrific
lots of eating choices
Cabin doors don’t slam
super quiet cabins
bathroom night lights
body lotion was provided; something missing from other recent RCCL cruises
very cozy bed
Richard Spacey is Great!
Oasis Not so greats:
Bad, Bad coffee
Safe in cabin is smaller than other RCL ships, way too small!!!
only 14 computer terminals for this huge ship
the stairs on the higher floors don’t go continuously. you have to go down one flight, then walk around to find the next flight down-this was a major pain
we had a cabin on deck 7. If you come to the wrong side you can’t just walk across; you have to go a flight up or down and then back to 7
too crowded, esp Windjammer
closet poorly placed, small and cramped
did not feel like we were on a ship. It is great if you tend to be seasick, but I love to feel a ship move. It is part of the sailing experience and was totally missing on this ship
some service slip-ups we had not encountered before - champagne not delivered when requested, liquor not delivered to the room prior to disembark as promised, dining seating request ignored until complaint made
the casino stole some of DH’s money! (but in all fairness it tends to happen on all the ships)